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MALAYSIA
Merger/Mega Company
July 17, 2007

Green light for world's largest palm oil firm
Malaysian regulators have approved the creation of the world's largest listed palm oil firm, the company was quoted as telling AFP on July 17.

The Securities Commission (SC) on Monday approved the merger proposal of three giant Malaysian plantation companies in a 14-billion-dollar deal, said Synergy Drive, the vehicle merging state-linked firms Sime Darby, Golden Hope Plantations and Kumpulan Guthrie.

"With the approval from the SC secured, we look forward to shareholders' endorsement for the merger at the respective extraordinary general meetings which is slated for August," Mohamad Nor Yusof, chairman of Synergy Drive, said in a statement.

Synergy Drive will be listed on Bursa Malaysia in November this year, the company said.

The merged entity is set to be the second largest company on the bourse, with a market capitalisation of about 48.5 billion ringgit (14 billion dollars) based on the current market price of all the firms, Synergy Drive said.

The three companies signed the merger agreement on January 24, seeking to consolidate a total of eight publicly listed companies.

The merger would see the de-listing of the eight companies. Shareholders will be given the option of converting their stake into Synergy Drive shares worth 5.25 ringgit per share or redeeming it for cash.

The government's investment vehicle, Permodalan Nasional, will control the new firm.

The new mega-company is expected to have total annual revenue of more than 26 billion ringgit, a workforce of more than 107,000 and combined plantation land of about 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres) in Malaysia and Indonesia. AFP

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